20 October 1998
Original: Spanish


(Document prepared by the Chair of the GETC)

In this document, the Chair attempts to identify certain coinciding issues and suggestions that several delegations have contributed to the subject of partnership for development being addressed in the GETC.

This document comprises those topics on which, in the Chair's estimation, there is a greater degree of consensus and which may already be identified for discussion and recommendation.

The conclusions of any Group discussion will be included in the report that must be submitted to the Permanent Council and CIDI for appropriate action.

The Chair has identified five main areas for discussion: (1) evaluation of results already achieved from the new partnership system (CIDI); (2) the role of the various bodies in the partnership for development process and specific tasks; (3) program management, especially with regard to the consistency and congruency which must exist between the program and its priority areas, on the one hand, and the evaluation, selection, execution and monitoring of projects; (4) fund-raising issues; and (5) accounting procedures with regard to program funds and the advisability of using separate accounts.

(1) Current state of cooperation. Results achieved from the new partnership system (CIDI)

Partnership management has improved with the implementation of the new structure in the Organization. And, more importantly, there has been progress in establishing the correlation that should exist between the countries' needs and use of the capabilities the OAS has to offer. At the same time, an effort has been made to maintain congruency between the guidelines emanating from the presidential summits, ministerial-level meetings, and the inter-American programs.

In the new system, there is a noticeable trend to give priority to multilateral projects that seek to promote partnership among states rather than foster an aid-oriented system. Noteworthy in this regard is the participants' intention to share their knowledge and experience in an effort to create and consolidate local development infrastructure. This approach fits in with the general guidelines on which the countries themselves agreed and, as part of a dynamic and complex system, is consistent with a process towards globalization and integration.

If the cooperation system is understood as a complex and continually-evolving process, those participating in that process should establish control and evaluation mechanisms enabling it to adapt and renew itself constantly

Experience to date has been that participants to this process can already discern areas of success where initial expectations have been met, areas where more time is required for appropriate evaluation, as well as others that have hardly been satisfactory or that have been ill-conceived and for which corrective measures are already being proposed.

(2) Technical management of projects. Role of the political bodies and of the Secretariat in partnership for development and specific terms of reference

The need to redefine and strengthen the functions of the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI) in partnership for development emerged from discussions in the Working Group and proposals submitted by various delegations for the purpose of strengthening the Organization's technical cooperation program.

As many delegations noted, the purpose and functions of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) are set out in both the Organization's Charter an in CIDI's Statutes.

The functions of SEDI were also defined in the Charter and the Statutes. The functions now performed by SEDI are, however, far broader than those established in those basic documents. For instance, it serves as Technical Secretariat for the various ministerial and high-level technical meetings held within the framework of CIDI, at its meetings and at the meetings of its subsidiary bodies.

On the other hand, SEDI carries out more restricted functions than it is called upon to in the area of cooperation. There are other units or departments of the Organization that carry out cooperation projects which are financed with voluntary funds from member states, thereby duplicating tasks, obstructing the management of cooperation and increasing their administrative costs.

There are two positions that emerge from the proposals that have been tabled for centralizing the execution of cooperation projects:

a. that SEDI coordinate and execute only those projects financed by FEMCIDI; and

b. that SEDI coordinate and execute all cooperation projects and activities carried out by the Organization regardless of their source of financing (both projects financed by FEMCIDI and those financed by external sources).

Alternative a.) is consistent with the responsibility of the Executive Secretary for Integral Development to account for the use of all resources earmarked by member states for the execution of cooperation projects and for the state of progress and results of those projects.

Alternative b.) is a broad interpretation of the functions of CIDI and SEDI, since the Charter and the Statutes refer to cooperation without describing it in detail. The advantage of this alternative is that all OAS cooperation projects would have a common thread and would be consistent with the Strategic Plan. This would avoid not only the lack of coordination, but also the duplication of tasks and the inconsistencies in information received by member states. On the other hand, there is a risk that projects entrusted to the units of the General Secretariat because of the knowledge and capability it has acquired in specific areas in the course of time will be lost. These projects may require technical know-how, which SEDI does not necessarily have. This situation could be envisaged if one allows for the possibility that the Secretary General might, in some very specific cases, decide that some of the projects presented by units of the General Secretariat should be executed and coordinated outside the scope of SEDI.

The second category of proposals seeks to consolidate all activities that are an integral part of cooperation, such as fellowships, for example.

The OAS fellowships program now functions independently of cooperation. When considered as an integral part of cooperation, some views hold that that program should not have a separate mechanism and a different administrative structure for approval, control, and follow-up from those carried out under technical cooperation projects. According to this viewpoint, both essentially have the same development objective. Furthermore, by including the functions of the Department of Fellowships in SEDI, the fellowship program would be more consistent with the programs and projects promoted by CIDI. Many delegations have insisted that any formula for change should guarantee current levels of performance and the management of fellowships and not compromise the prestige the program enjoys in member states.

The desirability of making use of the National Offices and involving them fully in the cooperation programs has also been noted.

Consideration should also be given to the observations where some member states propose separating the technical aspects of cooperation from the political aspects.

This does not mean that the political bodies should not participate in the cooperation process, according to these proposals. The intention is rather that action by member states should focus on the general policies, strategies and priorities of the cooperation programs, where SEDI would be given greater autonomy to manage the identification, formulation, programming approval and follow-up of cooperation activities in such a way as to make them consistent with established political guidelines.

Hence, freed from the micro-management that the supervision of operating aspects implies, the political bodies could focus on making policy, defining global priorities and coordinating the activities of the various departments of the Organization participating in technical cooperation.

(3) Management of programs and projects Congruency and consistency between the program and its priority areas on the one hand, and projects, on the other, in terms of evaluation, selection, execution and monitoring

Some delegations pointed to the need for cooperation to focus on the eight priority areas established and to define more precisely the limits and scope of OAS action in those areas. Accordingly, one proposal has been to define the objectives and expected results of the inter-American programs more clearly. It was also noted that some countries also wished to see greater congruency between those programs and the mandates of the Summits.

Some delegations also noted the desirability of revising the existing cycle for the programming, presentation, evaluation, execution, and monitoring of cooperation activities.

Some of the delegations were of the view that the ex-ante evaluation process conducted by CENPES is complicated and costly. They said it should be simplified and that mechanisms should be identified to cut costs without compromising efficiency.

Concern was also expressed about flaws in the management control and project appraisal system.

The lack of information was also a flaw which member countries felt. They received incomplete information about project financing and almost no information about project results. If an integrated information system were established, SEDI should be given capability to obtain data from the executing national institutions.

(4) Fund-raising Establishment of a coordinated mechanism for that purpose

In view of the fact that traditional sources of funding cannot meet current needs in this area, a considerable number of member states have called for a coherent, coordinated, and centrally-managed fund-raising strategy to replace the current system used in the General Secretariat.

Given the importance of external financing (whether from other international organizations, observer or other states, or private foundations or companies), fund-raising methods for cooperation should allow for flexible negotiation, demonstrating coherent programming and administrative transparency. At the same time, a solid reputation should be established as regards the efficiency of services and the results achieved. An efficient project-monitoring system should thus be set up for the efficient and rational evaluation of results, reporting, and the acceptable rendering of accounts.

(5) Accounting procedures Desirability of establishing a system of separate accounts

Experience has shown that it is difficult for the Administration to provide reliable financial statements on available balances and the use of funds. The delegations agreed to note the desirability of depositing cooperation funds in separate accounts, which would also be entered into separate books. They were convinced that, in this way, the Organization would be in a better position to provide an updated and transparent financial record, thereby increasing administrative and accounting efficiency, which is vital for generating the necessary trust that prospective new donors should have.

The extent to which the various funds would be separate could be as the countries themselves deem most appropriate; suggestions have ranged from modifying the accounting procedures to setting up a trust fund that would be managed by an entity outside the Organization, but that would continue to be under the supervision and control of member states.

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